Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Lion’s Mane and Its Health Benefits

The nervous system might be the most important part of our existence as a human race. The brain, which is the primary part of our nervous system, controls everything that we do, be they rational or irrational actions. Even when we are not doing anything, or even when we sleep, the brain continues to function and control the rest of the body, more importantly, it controls how we breathe. More importantly, our history, which is dictated by our memories, and information about the world, are stored in our brains. Thus, the importance of having a healthy-functioning nervous system is a must for us to live and work effectively. Therefore, we need to take actions on how to take care of our brains to avoid any issues in our brain that would make it more difficult for us to live our lives in an efficient manner.


We want to avoid and  prevent cognitive decline as much as possible. We want to avoid moments where we are unable to focus and think clearly, be confused all the time, or experience feeling fuzzy. But as we all know, cognitive decline comes with aging. As we age, parts of our body tend to decline, and this is true for our brains. A few studies found that cognitive decline is due to the fact that as we get older, certain parts of our brains shrink in volume and this affects how our brains function. Certain functions such as those for learning, memory, and other mental activities are affected. Thus, older people tend to experience memory loss or memory impairment.


Because of this, we need to take care of our brains while we are still young and as we age, even before we experience cognitive decline. One thing we can do to prevent the adverse effects of aging is what is called nootropics. The term was derived from a Greek word which means “to bend or shape the mind.” Nootropics is the term used to refer to natural or synthetic substances that are used to promote brain improvement and maintain the normal functions of the brain to boost creativity, memory, decision-making, or other high-level brain functions.


If you are interested in this, you can try a medicinal mushroom called Hericium Erinaceus, or Lion’s Mane. Lion’s Mane is a known cognitive enhancer. It is a type of mushroom with a white appearance, globe-shaped, and with long and shaggy spines. Traditional Chinese Medicine considered Lion’s Mane as part of its medicinal mushrooms with its supposed surprising health benefits. Recent scientific studies on Lion’s Mane mushrooms actually confirm this fact – that this type of fungi improves brain health. If you want to know the various benefits that can be derived from taking Lion’s Mane, read on as Superfoods Australia explains the benefits of Lion’s Mane to our brain health.


Brain Health


As we get older, our body starts to deteriorate. This includes even how our brain functions. As we commonly observe, older people tend to have difficulty with their memory functions. If we want to prevent or slow down cognitive decline, Lion’s Mane may be the answer to that as some studies suggest that lion’s mane offers health benefits including support for neuronal health. So how does lion’s mane support cognitive health? Studies found that this type of fungi contains two compounds called hericenones and erinacines. These compounds are responsible for encouraging brain cell growth. Because of this, a few researchers are inclined to state that lion’s mane can also prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. In a study conducted exploring the health benefits of lion’s mane where the participants were older adults with mild cognitive impairment, it was concluded that those participants who took the lion’s mane extract showed significantly greater improvements than those who did not.


Anxiety and Depression


Some studies also inferred that lion’s mane can be used to treat anxiety and depression. Admittedly, anxiety and depression can be caused by several factors. However, some experts say that a major contributing factor to these mental conditions is chronic inflammation. Accordingly, in one study, it was shown that lion’s mane has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, it was said that lion’s mane can help reduce anxious and depressive behaviors by improving the functioning of the hippocampus. Lastly, lion’s mane may contain agents for treating depressive disorders.


In a study conducted in Japan where the participants were menopausal women, it was shown that the participants who took cookies containing lion’s mane reported lower levels of irritation and anxiety than the other participants who did not.


Packed With Antioxidants


Lion’s mane is said to contain antioxidants which are good for the body to fight harmful substances and prevent inflammation and cell damage. Lion’s mane ranked 4th with the highest antioxidant activity out of the 14 different mushroom species in a study conducted in 2012.


Good for the Immune System


Another surprising health benefit of lion’s is it can help strengthen the immune system. Although studies are yet to be conducted on the potential benefit of lion’s mane mushroom extract to human’s immune system, studies done on animals have proved that that lion’s mane mushrooms can boost immunity by increasing the activity of the intestinal immune system, which protects the body from pathogens that enter the gut through the mouth or nose.


Lion’s Mane is one of the top medicinal mushrooms modern scientific studies have focused on to learn more about its potential health benefits. The health benefits listed in this piece can still increase as more studies engage on the same subject matter. At the present, the benefits of having lion’s mane extract as part of your healthy diet and lifestyle truly outweigh the risk of early signs of cognitive decline. If you decide on trying lion’s mane extracts, you sure can find one in your own local health stores.



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